Slovak Consulate introduced small border traffic cards, but few Transcarpathians apply for them.
In September last year, Janka Buriyanova became the new head of the Consulate General of the Slovak Republic in Uzhgorod. And in December, the institution was temporarily closed for the repair and installation of modern equipment that would allow to resume issuance of local border traffic permits.
The "Zamok" asked the Consul General Janka Buriyanova and the Consul Bibiana Hromadova about the current work of this diplomatic structure and the innovations in permitting.
- Despite a signed international agreement, the Consulate of Slovakia has not issued local border traffic permits since September 2011. What was the reason?
- This was due to some technical difficulties, in particular because of the need for installation of equipment for fingerprints collection. The EU put forward a requirement that new permits must contain biometric data of citizens from outside the EU.
- So what is the procedure for obtaining a permit for small border traffic within a 50-kilometer zone in Slovakia?
- The requirements to documents necessary for obtaining a permit have not changed. As before, the fact of residence in the 50-kilometer zone from the border itself is not enough. An applicant must have economic, cultural or social reasons for constant trips to Slovakia or provide proof that his or her close relatives live in the 50-kilometer zone of the country. The experience of past years has shown that most small border traffic permits are issued exactly for cultural reasons.For example, in 2010, 740 Transcarpathians received the documents, of which 400 - for cooperation in the cultural sphere. In 2011 (until September, when permits issuance was terminated), 541 applicants received the documents and over 400 permits were issued for cooperation in this field. The only changes in the procedure itself is that an applicant must have his or her fingerprints taken with a special scanner. And from January 1 this year, issuance of permits is free of charge.
- Today, many travel agencies offer to buy from them a trip to Slovakia and receive a Slovak multiple entry visa for 2 years as a gift. This is also a kind of innovation?
- This is a step toward the liberalization in the issuance of Schengen visas for citizens of Ukraine. However, we would not advise people to believe in such promotional statements of tourist agencies, because the Consulate in any case is not obliged to open a visa for several years only by virtue of buying a trip to Slovakia. Indeed, if we see that the tourist has good visa story, he or she travels frequently, had no problems with the law in the European Union, we can open a visa not only for the duration of the trip, but for longer period. But those are individual cases rather than some promotional gifts, as tourist agencies claim.
- What else will your agency be working on this year?
- We are almost ready to open the Honorary Consulate of the Slovak Republic in Velyky Berezny, so soon we will have another representative office in Ukraine. Another important task for us is to introduce an electronic record for filing documents for visas and local border traffic permits.
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